The 5 personality traits of a genius

What is the defining characteristic of a genius? This is a question that humanity has asked itself over time. Many want to achieve excellence, but only a privileged few embark on such an endeavor.

In most cases, we don’t understand how it happened that only this person was able to get there. For what reasons were Picasso or Dalí able to develop such fruitful and innovative works? Why Mozart had a greater ability to compose than anyone already at a young age? How could Albert Einstein formulate such abstruse theories as relativity?

What does the personality of geniuses look like?

It is often said that geniuses are thanks to a don innat: They contain the potential necessary to develop a talent in a given activity. This point of view is not entirely correct. Of course, geniuses are naturally talented, but potentiality is not the defining characteristic of genius. Below, we’ll break down a total of five traits that each genie fulfills.

1. They are analytical and impulsive

To write his book creativity (Paidós, 2008), the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi interview ninety-one geniuses, from many different disciplines, including fifteen Nobel laureates. One of the conclusions of this research is that very talented people end up with two characteristics: curiosity and impulsivity. “They are people taken away by their work, and although they are surrounded by more talented people, their immeasurable desire to know reality is a defining trait,” says Csikszentmihalyi.

2. Regardless of the regulated training or dedication to their specialty.

We tend to associate the academic record with excellence, but such a relationship does not exist in many cases. Professor at the University of California Dean simonton he researched and analyzed the academic records of 350 geniuses who lived between 1480 and 1860, which included names such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Ludwig van Beethoven and Rembrandt.

He established that the level of formal education that each had received and set parameters of excellence based on their work. The conclusions were unexpected. The relationship between training and excellence formed a bell-shaped graph: the brightest geniuses were those with average education levels, which could amount to a degree. Those who had more or less baggage turned out to be less creative.

The brightest continue to study on your own, In addition to being in love with their work, devoting most of the day to their studies and work. The top-ranked designers are those who take their passion to the extreme.


Psychologist Howard Gardner Says Great Designers Love PicassoFreud Stravinsky they had a similar working model, based on trial and error: they observed a problem, devised a solution, experimented with it, and wrote systematic feedback. “Great people,” Gardner explains, “spend a lot of time thinking about what they want to accomplish, whether they’ve been successful or not, and if they haven’t, what they need to change.” .

Creative minds are also the most methodical.

4. They are dedicated, alone and can become neurotic.

The creators are constantly thinking about your work and this leads to certain inconveniences. Thinking endlessly about work leads to the wear and tear of personal relationships. Csikszentmihaly states that most geniuses fail to socialize in their youth, mainly due to their curiosity about disciplines strange to their peers. Other teens have a gregarious attitude and are generally unwilling to spend time honing their skills.

Sometimes the dedication required to be a genius can be understood as a pathology. These continuous sacrifices can become an obsession: great creators don’t have to be happy. One need only stop to see the austerity with which Sigmund Freud, TS Eliot or Mohandas Gandhi lived, as well as the terrible self-imposed loneliness that marked the life of Albert Einstein. Many geniuses develop neurotic traits: Their dedication has made them selfish and manic.

5. They work for passion, not money

True geniuses live their work with love, and rarely give themselves to it for money or a reward, but for passion and vocation. “Creators who have perfected their work for the pleasure of the activity itself rather than through extrinsic rewards, they spawned an art that was deemed socially privileged, ”says the writer. And pink in his book The incredible truth about what drives us (Planet, 2000).

“Likewise, it was those who were less motivated by extrinsic rewards who ultimately received them.”

Some good sentences to think about

Throughout history, many brilliant minds have left us pearls in the form of sentences that invite us to reflect on a multitude of aspects of reality. We have brought them together in an article in which, in addition to the famous quotes, we wanted to develop a reflection or an interpretation on each of them.

  • You can read it here: “120 wise phrases to reflect on life”

Bibliographical references:

  • Maíllo, Adolfo (1970). Introduction to psychology. Mc Graw-Hill Book Company.
  • Pueyo, Antonio Andrés (2013). “5”. Psychology of individual differences (in Catalan). Barcelona university bookstore.
  • Triglia, Adrián; Regader, Bertrand; García-Allen, Jonathan (2018). What is intelligence? From CI to multiple intelligences. EMSE publication.

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